Mobile subscriptions grows massively in Middle East

With mobile subscriptions in the Middle East expected to exceed 250 million this year, more content needs to be developed for mobile users in the region, considered one of the hottest telecom markets in the world.

The report, which covered Jordan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE and Yemen, indicated that the Middle East will see massive growth in the number of mobile subscriptions over the next few years.

Average mobile phone penetration in the region is estimated to exceed 100 % in 2012, thereby exceeding the North America market for the first time, a provider of market intelligence for the global telecom and entertainment industries.

In Jordan, there were 7.482 million mobile subscriptions by the end of 2011, with mobile penetration reaching 120 %, according to figures posted on the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission website.

Second Generation (2G) services will not still be going strong in the Middle East over the next four years, as most countries in the region will see a rise in 3G connections during this period.

“It is, of course, early days yet for 4G in all of the Middle East, with only a few countries having active implementation,” the report said, predicting that Saudi Arabia will be the leading 4G market in the region with just over 11 million 4G subscriptions by 2016, with the UAE expected to come in second place in terms of 4G usage.

Middle East and North Africa region is considered a rapidly growing market for online and mobile content, as the number of mobile and Internet users is on the rise.

Fixed broadband subscriptions in the MENA region grew by about 160 % in a three-year period ending in June 2011, while the number of mobile broadband subscriptions increased from 919,000 in first quarter of 2008 to 6.9 million in first quarter of 2011, as Jordan times stated, according to Informa report.

The report said there are barriers that must be overcome in the Middle East, because the telecom industry’s best prospects for growth now lie in data rather than voice services, adding that international companies are interested in investing in the region’s mobile and content sectors